Friday, September 24, 2010

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource News for the Week

USGS Comprehensive National Analysis of Nutrients in Streams and Groundwater
On September 23, the USGS National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program released its national assessment on nutrients in streams and groundwater.  The assessment information includes two USGS publications (Circular 1350 and Fact Sheet 3078), along with a briefing sheet prepared for a September 24 congressional briefing, a Frequently Asked Questions sheet, supporting technical information (graphics, maps, tables and data), and related links.
According to the USGS, "The information describes nutrient concentrations in the Nation's water resources, key sources of nutrients, factors affecting nutrient concentrations, potential effects on humans and aquatic life, and changes in concentrations since the early 1990s. Implications of the findings touch on many environmental issues, including those related to (1) developing nutrient criteria for surface water bodies, (2) reducing nutrients to receiving waters, (3) setting realistic expectations for water-quality improvements following nutrient reduction strategies, and (4) managing elevated nutrients in drinking water from surface-water intakes and wells."
Questions and requests for more information can be referred to Pixie A. Hamilton (; (804) 261-2602 (office), (804) 301-3869 (cell)).

National Flood Insurance Program
A Senate bill (S. 3814) to extend the National Flood Insurance Program unchanged from its current form until September 30, 2011 was passed by the Senate without amendment by unanimous consent on September 21.   The Senate bill was referred to and passed by the House on a voice vote on September 23, and was sent to the President for his signature into law. 
In the meantime, the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee held a hearing to examine reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program on September 22 convened at the behest of Committee Chairman Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), who will be retiring at the end of this Congressional session.  Hearing witnesses described a series of financial, actuarial and social problems associated with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Hearing testimony is available to read here
Nick D'Ambrosia, of the National Association of Realtors stressed that "the current NFIP model is clearly not sustainable,” and that “(NFIP) subsidies have to be phased out, and the program has to move to actuarial rates."  Orice Williams Brown, of the U.S. Government Accountability Office noted that "addressing the subsidy issue is critical to the future solvency of the program."
In his remarks during the hearing, Senator Dodd noted that the Senate's decision Tuesday to renew the NFIP for an additional year, unchanged, was a "classic response of Congress," and likened it to "kicking the can down the road."
For more background information on this important issue for the Mississippi River system, visit here.

Wild and Scenic Film Festival and "Ghostbird" Film Screenings
This year the Tennessee Clean Water Network and the University of Tennessee Press are collaborating to present two days of  environmental film presentations.  On October 19, the Wild and Scenic Festival line up is presented (see for details). And on October 21, there will be a showing of the film "Ghostbird" (see: and a book signing for the book "Ghost Birds: Jim Tanner and Quest for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, 1935-1941."  Both showings will be at the Knoxville Museum of Art

Notable @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week

In the States -
  • Biologists: Mussels healthy in TN's Duck River; indicates water quality improving
  • Editorial: Restoring Mississippi River's Lake Pepin a top priority
  • IL EPA seeks ideas for projects to improve stormwater management
  • Purdue, IN DOT pioneering green highway projects around the state
  • Urbanization affecting water quality around Carbindale IL
  • MN River Board pushes market-based economic role in cleaning up MN waters launching Conservation Marketplace of MN
  • EDF's latest edition of Delta Dispatches now online with latest news on efforts to restore Coastal Louisiana

Studies and Reports -

Floodplains, Dams and Navigation -
  • Xcel Energy plans to remove 105 year-old Minnesota Falls dam on the Minnesota River south of Granite Falls
  • Plan to remove Minnesota Falls dam on Minnesota River sparks controversy
  • MN River at Jordan and Mississippi at Anoka both swollen several times beyond normal size for this time of year
  • Bill to extend National Flood Insurance Program until September 30, 2011 passed by Senate & House; sent to President

Agriculture -

Events -

       (re: "Troubled Waters: A Mississippi River Story" premier) -
  • U of MN dean says 'Troubled Waters' film whose premier was postponed 'vilifies agriculture'
  • U of MN River Talk blog: Controversy Over "Troubled Waters" film
  • Minnesota Daily: "U of MN has yet to prove postponing “Troubled Waters” was unbiased"
  • U of MN official in hot water over canceling of film, "Troubled Waters: A Mississippi River Story"
  • U of MN setting up faculty committee to review the postponed film "Troubled Waters: A Mississippi River Story"
  • U of MN announces controversial film "Troubled Waters: A Mississippi River Story'' to be aired as originally scheduled

Wildlife and Invasives -
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service & MO Dept of Conservation urge Missourians to battle aquatic invasive species

International Perspective -
  • China's requirement for everyone > age 11 to plant 3 trees/yr since 1978 comes with high environmental risks

Other News -
  • 12 case studies of how small cities, towns & rural regions transform themselves into more livable communities

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